‘Hanwell rail station has won the Ealing Civic Society’s 2021 Annual Award for its restoration work, which has improved accessibility and enhanced heritage features, in preparation for the arrival of the Elizabeth line later this year.’
Transport for London (TfL) has worked with the Railway Heritage Trust to upgrade the Grade II-listed, 19th Century station to meet modern standards whilst retaining its historic character.
The station was originally opened by the Great Western Railway in 1838, but the buildings seen today actually date from a station rebuild in 1877.
The venue was Grade II listed in 1972 but had already falling into a poor state of repair. TfL and its operator MTR Elizabeth line took over the management of the station in 2017 and began to oversee its renovation.
Ealing Council, together with Historic England and others provided advice and expertise on the station conservation project. The original buildings were repaired, repainted and restored to the traditional Great Western Railway cream and golden-brown colour scheme. Its historic platform signs have been carefully restored and timber handrails and cast-iron balustrades on the staircases have been given a new lease of life.
Other key upgrades at the station include the conversion of a derelict building on platform 2 into a new, spacious waiting room with restored period features, a newly converted accessible toilet facility and the installation of an accessible ticket office window.
The station now has step-free access from street to platform after the installation of lifts, one of which required the use of specialised equipment and a closely managed hand excavation over a period of weeks so that the historic timber canopy could be left in place. This accessibility means the facilities will be in keeping with the other 40 stations on the Elizabeth line. The station is staffed at all times while trains are running with ramps available for those that need them to board trains. The station has also benefited from improved lighting, with energy-saving LEDs fitted in the station’s traditional hanging lanterns.
Since 1989, the Ealing Civic Society has given awards to recognise and encourage buildings and environmental projects that make a noteworthy contribution to the community.
The judging panel, which was unanimous in awarding the society’s top prize to the station, commended the restoration, and stressed that the work had upgraded it to modern standards and transformed its accessibility whilst protecting historical features, enduring that a vital aspect of local and railway history is preserved. A commemorative plaque and certificate from the Ealing Civic Society will be put on display at the station.
Council leader Peter Mason, said: “The restored Hanwell station looks fantastic and does a great job of enhancing the heritage features while creating a modern, accessible station for the Elizabeth line. It is hugely deserving of this reward from the Ealing Civic Society. This station is now the gateway that the very special town of Hanwell deserves.”